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OUR VIEW: Cautiously optimistic about pro basketball in Mitchell

Mitchell has been known for decades as a basketball community through successful programs at the high school and Dakota Wesleyan University. Now, more basketball is coming to Mitchell. A professional basketball team returns to our city after a le...

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Mitchell has been known for decades as a basketball community through successful programs at the high school and Dakota Wesleyan University.

Now, more basketball is coming to Mitchell.

A professional basketball team returns to our city after a lengthy hiatus. The Dakota Magic will be Mitchell's first professional team since 2001-02, when the South Dakota Gold played one season in Mitchell for the International Basketball Association. The South Dakota Gold and the IBA folded after that season.

While the new team to Mitchell is undoubtedly interesting news, we're cautiously optimistic about its arrival and future success.

There's no doubt locals love basketball, so there is a possibility this thing takes off. Attendance has been impressive at DWU games in the past years, and Mitchell High School has a group of loyalists who seemingly always show up to games.

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And, regionally, basketball is king, too. The Corn Palace fills up during the annual Hanson Classic and during postseason playoff games when small-town teams battle for a state tournament berth.

But, we know the interest in those teams is high because of the players and because teams have a strong fan base that's been built over time.

The Dakota Magic team has plenty of question marks. So if the team wants to succeed over time, it needs to have a great showing right off the bat.

Its games will be played in September, October and November - which could be detrimental in that it will compete with sports fans who enjoy college and professional football. Though, tickets will be reasonably priced to draw more fans.

The most important aspect to the team will be drawing locally known players who aren't yet ready to retire their jersey. Plenty of dunks, impressive ball-handling and promotional activities during game breaks will also be vital.

We hope this league succeeds, mostly because it's another entertainment option for our city. But, as history has shown, it's going to be quite a hurdle to get this team off and successfully running. We'll sit back with a high amount of interest to see how it does.

Related Topics: OUR VIEWBASKETBALL
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